|Publication number||US5710506 A|
|Application number||US 08/385,537|
|Publication date||Jan 20, 1998|
|Filing date||Feb 7, 1995|
|Priority date||Feb 7, 1995|
|Publication number||08385537, 385537, US 5710506 A, US 5710506A, US-A-5710506, US5710506 A, US5710506A|
|Inventors||Frederick Gaudenz Broell, Jehangir Parvereshi, Stephen Paul Sacarisen|
|Original Assignee||Benchmarq Microelectronics, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (32), Non-Patent Citations (8), Referenced by (214), Classifications (12), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The consumer and industrial markets have seen increased demand for battery management technology, primarily due to the consumers' ever-increasing appetite for the convenience of battery-powered portable equipment such as cellular phones and laptop computers. Additionally, the industrial market is seeing a movement toward an increased emphasis on electric motor-driven tools and vehicles due to the ever-increasing governmental regulations and consumer concerns on environmental pollution, the primary power source for this equipment being batteries.
As a result of this increased use of battery-powered equipment, the battery industry itself is under competitive pressure to produce a cell that weighs almost nothing, takes up no space and has ideal charge/discharge performance. The technology utilized by the battery industry includes lead-acid chemistries which are being challenged to meet the lighter weight, smaller size and higher performance requirements. The technology for manufacturing lead-acid batteries is being improved but the rate of the improvements is not keeping up with the consumers' appetite. One aspect of utilizing these batteries that has not been addressed adequately is that of the battery charger itself.
Lead-acid battery chargers typically have two tasks to accomplish. The first is to restore capacity, often as quickly as practical, and the second is to maintain capacity by compensating for self-discharge. In both instances, optimal operation requires accurate sensing of battery voltage and temperature. When a typical lead-acid cell is charged, a lead sulfate is converted to lead on the battery's negative plate and lead dioxide on the positive plate. Over-charge reactions begin when the majority of lead sulfate has been converted, typically resulting in the formation of hydrogen and oxygen gas, this referred to as "outgassing". At moderate charge rates, most of the hydrogen and oxygen will recombine in sealed batteries. In unsealed batteries, however, dehydration will occur.
The onset of over-charge can be detected by monitoring battery voltage. Over-charge reactions are indicated by a sharp rise in the cell's voltage. The point at which over-charge reactions begin is dependent on charge rate, and as charge rate is increased, the percent of return capacity at the onset of over-charge diminishes. At high charge rates, controlled over-charging is typically employed with sealed batteries to return to full capacity as soon as possible.
Previous solutions to the problem of quickly charging lead-acid batteries have utilized multiple modes of operation. In one technique, a first mode is a conditioning mode. In the conditioning mode, a small current is applied to raise the battery voltage up to a level corresponding to a zero percent state of charge, this condition being utilized when the battery voltage is below a predetermined threshold, indicative of a very deep discharge or one or more shorted cells. Charging in this mode at low battery voltages prevents the charger from delivering high currents into an electrical short, as well as reducing excessive out-gassing when a shorted cell is present.
In the second mode of operation, referred to as the "bulk-charge" mode, the voltage is monitored, and when it exceeds the trickle-charge threshold, the charger transitions into a bulk-charge state, during which full-time current is delivered to the battery. During this bulk-charge state, the majority of the battery capacity is restored. In a third mode, an over-charge mode, a controlled over-charging operation is performed. This is operable to restore full capacity in a minimum amount of time. The over-charge voltage is dependent on the bulk-charge rate and, as an over-charge voltage is held constant, the charge current is diminished. Over-charge is terminated when the current reduces to a low value, typically one-tenth of the bulk-charge rate.
In a fourth mode, a float-charge mode, a fixed voltage is applied to the battery. In this mode, the charger will deliver whatever current is necessary to sustain a "float" voltage and compensate for leakage current. When a load is applied to the battery, the charger will supply the majority of the battery current up to the bulk-charge current level. It will remain in the float state until the battery voltage drops to approximately 90% of the value of the float voltage, at which point operation will revert to a different mode.
The current invention disclosed and claimed herein comprises a method and apparatus for controlling a charging operation of a lead acid battery. A charging device is provided having an input connected to an external power supply source and an output connected to the positive terminal of the battery and controllable to determine the amount of charge input to the battery. A control system is provided for controlling the charging device during a charging operation, at least a portion of the charging operation being a fast charge operation. A voltage monitor is provided for monitoring the voltage across the battery. A gradient determination device determines when a change in battery voltage determined by the battery voltage monitor as a function of time decreases during at least the fast charge operation by a predetermined amount and then generate a charge modification command in response thereto. A charge modification device then alters the operation of the charging device in response to generation of the charge modification command.
In another aspect of the present invention, the gradient determination device is operable to determine when the slope of the change in voltage in the battery is negative for a predetermined accumulated voltage value with no positive change during the predetermined accumulated voltage value determination. The charge modification command is generated in response to the change exceeding the predetermined accumulating voltage value.
In yet another aspect of the present invention, the charging device comprises a switching regulator circuit. A voltage regulator control is provided for controlling the switching regulator circuit to provide current to the battery at a predetermined regulated voltage. A current regulator control is provided for controlling the switching regulator circuit to provide a regulated current to the battery. A state machine controls the operation of the charge control circuit by selecting either the voltage regulator control or the current regulator control to control the switching regulator circuit in accordance with a predetermined charge profile. The predetermined charge profile defines the operation of the charging device as a function of current and voltage.
In a further aspect of the present invention, the predetermined charging profile comprises a conditioning state, a fast charge state and a maintenance state. In one profile, the conditioning state comprises a battery presence detector for determining if current is flowing to the battery during the conditioning state. If not, this is a fail state. If so, the current regulator control is selected and the current regulated to a conditioning current. When the voltage of the battery cell exceeds a predetermined minimum cell voltage, the operation of the system is switched to the fast charge state. In the fast charge state, the current regulator control is selected for regulating the current to a maximum current value. When the cell voltage has exceeded a predetermined bulk voltage value, the voltage regulator control is then selected for regulating the voltage to the bulk voltage value. When the current to the battery falls below a predetermined minimum current, the system switches to the maintenance state.
In a yet further aspect of the invention, after the conditioning state, the current is regulated to a predetermined maximum current and, when the charge modification command has been generated, switches to an inhibit or maintenance state wherein the voltage is allowed to "float" and remain in that state until the voltage has fallen below a predetermined float voltage level. Upon falling below the float voltage level, the current regulator control is then selected for again regulating the current to the battery at the maximum current level.
For a more complete understanding of the present invention and the advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying Drawings in which:
FIG. 1 illustrates an overall block diagram of the lead-acid battery charger;
FIG. 2 illustrates a more detailed block diagram of the integrated circuit chip for implementing the lead-acid charger;
FIG. 3 illustrates a charging profile for the constant-voltage mode;
FIG. 3a illustrates a state diagram for the conditioning mode;
FIG. 4 illustrates a charging profile for the constant-current mode;
FIG. 5 illustrates a charging profile for the constant-current pulse mode;
FIG. 6 illustrates a voltage profile for the constant-current charging of different aged batteries.
FIG. 7 illustrates the relationship of cell voltage, pressure and temperature during constant-current charging;
FIG. 8 illustrates typical charge profile of the battery;
FIG. 9 illustrates a detail of the typical charge profile of FIG. 8;
FIGS. 10a and 10b illustrate diagrammatic views of BAT connection and the thermistor connection;
FIG. 11 illustrates the soft programming operation wherein the digital output pins are multiplexed to allow them to act as inputs;
FIG. 12 illustrates a detailed logic diagram of the integrated circuit charge controller and one configuration thereof,
FIGS. 13a and 13b illustrate timing diagrams of the transition from current regulation to voltage regulation and the interaction of the two loops, the current loop and the voltage loop;
FIG. 14 illustrates a detailed logic diagram of the MOD control;
FIGS. 15-18 illustrate flowcharts for the overall operation of the state machine;
FIG. 19 illustrates an alternate embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 20 illustrates a charge profile for this operation; and
FIGS. 21 and 21a illustrate an alternate embodiment wherein termination of the top-off mode will be determined based upon a decision as to whether the change in the current is a function of time or the first derivative.
Referring now to FIG. 1, there is illustrated an overall block diagram of the battery charger of the present invention. The battery charger is utilized to charge a lead-acid battery 10 having a positive terminal 12 and a negative terminal 14. A sense resistor 16 is disposed between the negative terminal of the battery 14 and a ground node 18. The sense resistor 16 is utilized to develop a voltage that is proportional to the current through the battery 10. This voltage is processed by a current converter circuit 20 to provide on the output thereof a sense current ISNS on a line 22. The current supplied to the node 12 for the purpose of charging is developed through a switching power supply circuit 24. The switching power supply circuit 24 is a conventional switching power supply which is comprised of a gate element 28, referred to as a "switch," which receives on the input thereof a DC voltage with the output thereof connected to a terminal 30. The terminal 30 is connected to the cathode of a switching diode 32, the anode thereof connected to ground. The node 30 is also connected to one side of a switching inductor 34, the other side thereof connected to the node 12. The switch 28 is controlled by a pulse width modulation (PWM) switch controller block 36. As will be described hereinbelow, the switch controller 36 is operable to control the switching power supply 24 to operate in a voltage regulation mode or a current regulation mode to either supply a constant current or a constant voltage to the node 12.
The overall operation of the power supply controller is controlled by a charge control circuit 40 which is operable to generate the necessary controls to control the switch controller 36. The signals generated by the charge control 40 are processed by communication interface device 42 before input to the switched controller 36. This communication interface 42 provides loop control to operate within a current loop to provide current regulation, and a voltage loop to provide voltage regulation, respectively. Various thresholds are provided by which the switching between current and voltage regulation is defined. These are stored in a block 48 and they are input by the user. Further, there are a number of different modes of operation which are selected external to the integrated circuit, the integrated circuit generally defined by a phantom outline 50. An internal timer 52 provides various timing controls to allow for "time outs" within which to terminate certain charging operations to prevent overcharging. The charge control 40 is also operable to generate display information for output by a display 56, this processed by input/output device 58. Additionally, the various program inputs can be received, one of which is the mode select input DSEL which is illustrated on the different inputs/outputs. As will be described hereinbelow, common pins are provided for the display 56, which display is comprised of light emitting diodes (LEDs). The common pins can be utilized for programming via predetermined input parameters or for outputting drive signals to LEDs, such that the pin performs an input/output function.
Referring now to FIG. 2, there is illustrated a more detailed block diagram of the integrated circuit 50. There are a number of pins that are provided on the integrated circuit 50, these being defined as follows:
______________________________________TMTO Time-out timebase input Timebase for maximum time-out charge termination.FLOAT State control output Open-drain output for external resistor divider network connection to control the BAT input voltage threshold for the float charge state.BAT Single-cell voltage input Single-cell voltage for the battery pack. Resistor divider network connected between the positive and the negative terminals of the battery.VCOMP Compensation output External capacitor for voltage loop stability.IGSEL Current gain select External resistor connection to set IMIN.ICOMP Current compensation output External capacitor for current loop stability.SNS Charging current sense input SNS controls the switching of MOD based on an external sense resistor.TS Temperature sense input Input for external battery temperature monitoring thermistor or probe. The external resistor and thermistor divider network is set for the lower and upper temperature threshold limits.TPWM Regulation timebase input External timing capacitor sets the pulse-width modulation (PWM) frequency.COM Common LED output Common output for LED1-3. Output is high impedance during initiation to read soft-program input.QSEL Charge regulation select input Soft-programmed three-level input selects constant-voltage or constant-current regulation mode.MOD Current-switching control output MOD is a push/pull output that is used to control the charging current to the battery. MOD switches high to enable current flow and low to inhibit current flow.LED1=3 Charger display status 1-3 outputs Charger status output drivers for direct drive of LED displays.DSEL Display select Soft-programmed three-level input controls and the LED1-3 charge display modes.TSEL Termination select Soft-programmed input controls constant-current bulk charge termination.VCC VCC supply input 5.0 V ± 10% power inputVSS Ground______________________________________
The VCC input is connected to the circuit and processed through a power-on reset circuit 62 which is operable to control various functions of the chip upon power-up. One of these, as will be described hereinbelow, is to read the soft programming inputs on the display output pins LED1, LED2 and LED3. This is input to a maximum time-out (MTO) timer circuit 64, which is then input to an overall charge control state machine 68, which controls the operation of the entire chip. This is then operable to control a voltage/current regulation circuit 70 which generates the modulation output signal MOD. This receives a time base from an oscillator circuit 74, and is connected to the TPWM output which is connected to an external timing capacitor which sets the pulse width modulation (PWM) frequency. The voltage/current regulator circuit 70 has one input connected to the sense input from the negative terminal of the battery 14 and also to the compensation input VCOMP, which is an external capacitor utilized to control the voltage loop stability. The battery voltage is input to the negative input of a comparator, the positive input thereof connected to the output of a temperature compensated voltage reference circuit 66, which is a bandgap generator. This is a conventional voltage reference circuit. The output of the comparator 65 is connected to the other input of the voltage/current regulator 70 and also to the VCOMP pin. The temperature sense input pin (TS) is connected to the negative input of a comparator 71, the positive input connected to the output of the voltage reference 66. Similarly, the current gain select pin (IGSEL) is connected to the negative input of the comparator 72, the positive input connected to the voltage reference 66. The output of the comparator 72 is input to the state machine 68, as well as the output of comparator 71. Additionally, the sense input (SNS) is connected to an input of the comparator 72. The state machine 68 generates the float signal FLOAT and also generates control signals for input a display control block 76. The display control 76 provides drive outputs for the pins LED1, LED2 and LED3. Display control 76 is connected to the COM pin such that the LEDs can be connected therebetween. During power-on reset, the COM pin is open such that no drive current is provided to the LEDs. In this mode, external program resistors can either be connected high, allowed to float or connected low to provide the three soft program inputs TSEL, DSEL and QSEL. These are input to the charge control state machines 68.
The integrated circuit 50 is generally a monolithic CMOS IC that is designed to optimize charging of lead-acid chemistry batteries. The external controls allow for flexible pulse-width modulation regulation control to control both the constant-voltage and constant-current modes of charging. The regulator frequencies are set by external components to offer flexibility to control RFI. The charging action begins on application of power or battery replacement. The controller 68 allows for automatic sequences through several charge states based on the battery voltage and current charging conditions as described hereinbelow.
The charge control device provides for various charge action states which range from charge initiation to charge maintenance. They typically undergo a charge conditioning state, followed by a Bulk charge state and then followed by a maintenance state. The various conditions are described and summarized in Table 1.
TABLE 1__________________________________________________________________________CHARGER OPERATIONAL SUMMARYCharge Action State Conditions MOD Output__________________________________________________________________________Charge initiation VCC applied, VCELL increases > 0.8 V LowConditioning 1 Charge initiation and VHTF < VTEMP < VLTF Voltage regulation if VCELL < VMIN ; VCELL = VFLT + 0.250 V if ISNS < ICOND and 0.02 * MTO; conditioning MTO faultConditioning 2 Conditioning 1 completed and VHTF < VTEMP Current regulation and if ISNS ≧ ICOND ; ISNS = ICOND if VCELL < VMIN and 0.16 * MTO; conditioning MTO faultCharge pending Charge initiation and VTEMP < VHTF or VTEMP > VLTF LowBulk charging Charge pending and conditioning 2 completed and Current regulation VMIN < VCELL < VMCV and if VCELL < VBLK ; ISNS = IMAX, or if QSEL = 1 and TSEL = 1; VCELL < VBLK and Δ2 V/Δt2 > 0; ISNS = IMAXTop-off charging Bulk charging completed and VHTF < VTEMP Voltage regulation and VMIN < VCELL VMCV and if QSEL = 0; ISNS > IMIN ; VCELL = VBLKCharge completion Bulk and top-off charging completed and Low maximum time-out (MTO) and VMIN < VCELL < VMCV or maximum cut-off voltage (MCV) or if QSEL = 0; ISNS ≦ IMIN or if QSEL = 1; VCELL ≧ VBLK or Δ2 V/Δt2 < 0Charge maintenance Charge completion and VHTF < VTEMP < VLTF Voltage regulation VMIN < VCELL < VMCV and if QSEL = 0; VCELL = VFLTCharge maintenance Charge completion and VHTF < VTEMP < VLTF Low VMIN < VCELL < VMCV and if QSEL = 1 and TSEL = 1; set ISNS = 0 if VCELL ≦ VFLT, go to bulk chargingCharge maintenance Charge completion and VHTF < VTEMP < VLTF Current regulation VMIN < VCELL < VMCV and if QSEL = 1 and TSEL = 0; ISNS = IMIN__________________________________________________________________________ NOTE: 1 = VCC, 0 = VSS.
These charge action states are identified to define three charging modes, a constant-voltage mode, a constant-current mode and a constant-current pulse mode. These modes are selected by the program status of the program input QSEL and TSEL. QSEL is a two-level soft-programmed input pin that sets the charge mode, and soft-programmed input pin TSEL selects the bulk-charge termination method and the charge maintenance action. In all charge modes, the charge controller automatically resets to the conditioning 1 state when the cell voltage VCELL is less than the minimum voltage VMIN, such as a deep discharge load condition. A summary of the charge action control is provided in Table 2.
TABLE 2__________________________________________________________________________Charge Action Control SummaryCharger Bulk Charge Top-off Charge ChargeMode QSEL TSEL Termination Termination Maintenance Action__________________________________________________________________________Constant 0 X VBLK /MTO IMIN /MTO Voltage regulationvoltage at VFLTConstant 1 1 VBLK /Δ2 V/Δt2 / -- Pulsed currentcurrent pulsed MTO regulation at IMAXConstant 1 0 VBLK /Δ2 V/Δt2 / -- Pulsed currentcurrent MTO regulation at IMIN__________________________________________________________________________
Referring now to FIG. 3, there is illustrated a charging profile for the constant-voltage mode which is selected when QSEL is at a ground state or logic "0" with TSEL not being determinate of this charge mode, it being at either level. It can be seen that there is a conditioning state, a bulk state and a maintenance state, the bulk state indicated by the term "Bulk" and "Top-off". Both of these states indicate the overall bulk state. Two curves are shown, one for the voltage of the battery cell and the other for the charge current. The state diagram for the conditioning state is illustrated in FIG. 3a.
The algorithm for the conditioning state illustrated in FIG. 3a is an industry-standard test procedure for charge acceptance, the "Surface Vehicle Standard," SAE International, J537, Rev. June 1992. The state diagram is initiated at a block 75 and the first test procedure performed, as indicated at a state 77. In the first test procedure, a constant voltage is applied for a time period T1. If the cell current during this period is greater than or equal to a minimum threshold current, ICOND, then the state diagram flows to a state 79 to perform the second test. If not, then a fault condition is indicated and the state diagram flows to a state 81 to stop the charging operation. Typically, the current ICOND is twenty-five percent of a maximum current IMAX that can be input to the battery. This is a programmable input by the user. The first test procedure tests for the presence of the battery.
In the second test procedure, a constant current is input to the battery for a time period T2. If the cell voltage is greater than or equal to a minimum cell voltage, VMIN, during this time period T2, then the state diagram proceeds to the next state 83 to initiate the Bulk charge operation. If not, then the state diagram proceeds to the state 81 to indicate a fault.
When the transition from the conditioning state to the Bulk state occurs, there is a slight hold-off period during this time to prevent any unwanted voltage pulses to affect any decisions when the current changes. At this point, indicated by a reference numeral 80, the current is changed from ICOND to IMAX and the system maintained in the current regulation mode. This is a regulated current that is maintained until the cell voltage has risen to a level of VBLK. However, if the voltage does not rise to the level of VBLK, then a time-out will occur which is defined by the MTO timer 64 which will count a predetermined number of clock cycles and then roll over. At the end of this count cycle, the bulk state will change over to the top-off state if the cell voltage has not reached a value of VBLK.
If the cell voltage has reached the value of VBLK prior to the time-out period of the MTO timer 64, the system will then be switched to the top-off state which will be a voltage regulation mode and the voltage will be regulated up to a voltage of VBLK. This is a programmable input voltage. This state will continue until one of two conditions occurs. The first condition is that the current decreases to a value less than a threshold current IMIN. The current level of IMIN is programmable by the user and can be set to one-tenth, one-twentieth or one-fortieth of the current IMAX. The second condition is the time-out period of the MTO timer 64. If either of these conditions occurs, the voltage level of the voltage regulation operation is changed to VFLT, which is a float voltage. This constitutes a maintenance mode.
The advantage of the constant-voltage mode is that the battery self-regulates the amount of current depending on the state of charge and all voltages are temperature compensated. The constant-voltage mode can be used in both cyclic and float applications to control rapid charging at an elevated level and then step down to the temperature-compensated float voltage.
Referring now to FIG. 4, there is illustrated a charging profile for the constant-current mode. In the constant-current mode, a dual level current regulation scheme is utilized with no voltage regulation. The first charge action state is a conditioning state, the second state is a bulk state and the third state is a maintenance state. In the conditioning state, charge is input into the battery similar to the conditioning state of the constant-voltage mode. At this point, indicated by a reference numeral 84, the system enters into a current regulation mode at a current of IMAX. This is maintained until the cell voltage VCELL reaches a fully charged condition, at which time the voltage charging operation is terminated. Of course, if the time-out period has occurred, the bulk-charge state is also terminated. The fully charged condition is indicated whenever the voltage exceeds the voltage VBLK or the gradient of the change in voltage exceeds a predetermined level. This gradient of the change method is an overcharge detect method which will be described in much more detail hereinbelow.
In the maintenance portion of the charge action state at point 90, the current is maintained at the ICOND current and the current is then modulated on and off at a predetermined duty cycle. The current level of the regulation is set to ICOND during the "on" time. The duty cycle is defined by the programmed level of IMIN, such that the average current provided in the maintenance state is IMIN. This is achieved with the IGSEL input.
As described above, this fully charged state is determined by either the cell voltage reaching the VBLK voltage or the gradient of the voltage change being determined as being the decision-making factor. Alternatively, the decision from bulk to maintenance state can occur as a result of time-out, i.e., when the full count time of the MTO timer 64 has occurred prior to the voltage reaching VBLK, it being noted that VBLK does not necessarily indicate a fully charged battery; rather, it indicates eighty percent of rated full charge.
Referring now to FIG. 5, there is illustrated the charging profile for the constant-current pulse mode. In the constant-current pulse mode, a conditioning state is provided similar to the conditioning state in the constant-current-mode of FIG. 4. The transition from the conditioning state to the next state, the bulk state, is noted by a point 92. This is labelled as the bulk state. In the bulk state, the cell voltage VCELL rises. In the constant-current pulse mode, the decision is based upon either the voltage reaching the VBLK mode, the fully charged state indicated by the gradient method, or the time-out period of the MTO timer. Upon changing from the conditioning state to the bulk state, the hold-off period occurs. This is approximately 0.015 of the MTO timer. This only occurs at this transition and does not occur again. Upon reaching the transition at the end of the bulk state when, as described above, the voltage either exceeds VBLK, the fully charged state as indicated by the gradient change method or the time-out period has occurred, the system goes into a maintenance state. In the maintenance state, the modulation is turned off and the battery is allowed to idle or self-discharge. The voltage is monitored until it falls below the VFLT voltage. When this occurs, a transition is made back into the bulk state to a current regulation mode at IMAX. Again, the MTO timer is reset upon the transition from the bulk state to the maintenance state such that, upon transitioning from the maintenance state to the bulk state, the MTO timer is again initiated. This will continue indefinitely. It is important to note that when the transition from the maintenance state to the bulk state occurs, no hold-off is asserted. The hold-off period, again, is a period during which no decision is made to prevent false voltage transients from making the incorrect decision.
The advantage of the constant-current pulse mode is that provides a method to compensate for battery aging. As the battery ages, the cell voltage may not reach the initial VBLK of a new battery, but the charge control of the present invention terminates the bulk charge state by detecting the gradient change of the cell voltage, which will be described hereinbelow, and which is a characteristic of the battery's electrochemistry. This threshold is used to terminate the bulk state on every charge cycle and offers and automatic compensation to ensure full charge is replenished, regardless of the battery age or cell voltage degradation. The pulse charging method also has benefits in prolonging battery life by reducing the continuous charge potential during "float" applications.
As noted above, optimum battery charge life cycle is gained when the battery is always replenished to its substantially full capacity. Since the optimum charge threshold varies during the battery's life, the charge termination must also vary. FIG. 6 illustrates voltage profiles for constant-current charging of batteries which illustrates the percent of previous discharge capacity returned as a function of current. It can be seen that as the battery is charged over time, the voltage will go up and then "turn" and begin to decrease. The problem exists when the battery is fast charged above this turn as it degrades battery performance. The bulk state termination operation is typically set at or below the "turning," point such that the battery will not degrade. This is illustrated more clearly in FIG. 7, which represents plots of the relationship between cell voltage, pressure and temperature during constant-current charging. It can be seen that when the cell voltages increase, as indicated by a rising level 96, that the cell temperature begins to increase but, more importantly, the cell pressure begins to increase, as indicated by a rising portion 98 of the cell pressure curve. It is desirable to terminate charge when the cell voltage increases, but prior to a significant increase in either cell temperature or cell pressure.
A typical charge profile is illustrated in FIG. 8, wherein the cell voltage is plotted against time at a given current. This plot represents the deep discharge for a 6 volt gel-cell. The initial voltage rise in this charge plot is due to the increase in impedance resulting from a deep discharge.
FIG. 9 illustrates a magnification of the decision point that exists in the profile of FIG. 8 at the time when recombination of oxygen constituted at the positive plate and hydrogen generated at the negative plate begins to take place. This is illustrated with a plot 100 which is the actual plot of voltage as a function of time and a sampled curve 102 which represents the change in the voltage as a function of the sampled time. The sampling time is approximately 100 seconds. If the accumulated and continuous negative change in voltage exceeds -10.0 mV, then this is defined as a termination decision, i.e., the gradient of the change has become negative. Note that any positive increase will reset the accumulation operation. For example, the change initially begins to go negative at a point 104 and undergoes a negative change of approximately 5.0 mV. On the next sample, it again goes negative by an additional 2.0 mV. However, the next change, noted by a point 106, indicates that the change is positive, this then resetting the accumulation operation. The accumulation operation then goes negative once more at a point 108, prior to going positive again. However, it then turns negative at a point 110, at which the transition is -10.0 mV. At this point, a transition decision is made and this is defined as the "turning" point. It is important to note that this point essentially represents eighty percent of the charge state of the battery, and by utilizing this point, overcharging of the battery can be prevented. However, it is important to note that this decision is based upon the chemistry of the battery rather than upon external voltages. Therefore, even though an aging battery was inserted in the charger, this would not affect the determination decision. It would be the same regardless of the age of the battery. This is to be compared with the voltage detection methods wherein the charging operation were terminated when the voltage reached the VBLK level. For an aging battery, it may never reach this level.
The gradient termination technique prevents excessive pressure buildup that can cause venting and drying of the electrolyte. This technique also limits the rise in temperature which is detrimental to the battery separator and electrode current collector materials. The gradient change method of termination is used for the bulk charge termination in both the constant current modes, mode 2 and mode 3, to achieve efficient fast charge with a safe and reliable termination. This provides a significant advantage when charging at high current rates, since the "turning" point or "rollover" point is a battery characteristic that occurs predictably due to the chemistry of the battery independent of the age of the battery.
Referring now to FIGS. 10a and 10b, there are illustrated diagrammatic views of the configuration of the charging controller for both a battery voltage connection, illustrated in FIG. 10a, and a thermistor connection illustrated in FIG. 10b. In FIG. 10a, the charge controller IC 50 has the BAT voltage connected to a node 110. The BAT input represents the single-cell input for the overall configuration. A resistor divider is provided comprised of the resistor 112 connected between the positive terminal of the battery or node 12 and the node 110, a resistor 114, connected between the node 110 and the negative terminal of the battery on node 14 and the sense resistor 16 connected between the node 14 and the node 18. The resistor 112 is labelled RA, the resistor 114 is labelled RB and the resistor 116 is labelled RSNS. A resistor 120 is connected between the node 110 and the FLOAT output, this being a state-control output. This is internally an open-drain output for an external resistor divider network connection to control the voltage on a BAT input. As will be described hereinbelow, this output is essentially connected to the side of the resistor 120 to the SNS input. FIG. 10b illustrates a thermistor connection wherein a thermistor 124 is connected between the TS input and SNS input on node 14, thermistor 124 disposed adjacent the battery 10. A resistive divider is formed with a first resistor 126 connected between the VCC input to the controller 50 and the PS input and a second resistor 128 connected between the TS input and the node 14 on the SNS input. This allows a temperature voltage to be provided at the TS input for use in monitoring the temperature of the battery 10, as will be described in more detail hereinbelow.
The voltage and temperature must fall within acceptable limits before charging is initiated. The VTEMP (VTS -VSNS) voltage is compared to an internal low-temperature threshold of VLTF (0.6 * VCC) and a high temperature threshold of VHTF (0.4 * VCC). For the bulk charge to be initiated, VTEMP must be greater than VHTF and less than VLTF. These limits are stopped at the temperature range to qualify bulk and maintenance charging. The pulse current mode of FIG. 3 illustrates that the conditioning state is active whenever the voltage VTEMP is less than the voltage VHTF. If the battery temperature is outside these limits, the charge controller 50 enters the charge-pending state with no charge action and waits until the temperature is within the limits.
The charge controller 50 also provides for under voltage protection by detecting when the battery voltage is below the low-voltage threshold voltage VMIN. In the case of a deeply discharged battery (VCELL <VMIN), the charge controller 50 enters the conditioning state and charges the battery until the voltage and current increase, indicating positive charge acceptance. The conditioning algorithm is based on the SAE industry-standard J537 charge acceptance test procedure. The conditioning algorithm first provides a constant voltage (VFLT +0.250V) for a predetermined length of time and then measures if the charge current ISNS is greater than or equal to ICOND during this predetermined period of time, state one is terminated and the conditioning state two is initiated. This essentially determines if current is flowing through the battery. If current is not flowing through the battery, a fault indication is displayed. This indicates that current is not flowing and that charge action is stopped. In the second conditioning state, that existing when the current rises above the current ICOND, a constant current is applied. This constant current is applied for a predetermined length of time. If the voltage rises to a level greater than VMIN during this time-out, the conditioning state two is terminated and a bulk state is initiated. This was described hereinabove with reference to FIG. 3. The conditioning algorithm senses the current after the first period of time during conditioning state one and after the second period of time. If the current after the first period of time in conditioning state one exceeds the current ICOND or, alternatively, the cell voltage VCELL is less than VMIN at the end of second period of time, a conditioning maximum time-out (MTO) fault is indicated.
A precision internal reference is provided that is temperature-compensated to track the lead-acid cell's reaction temperature coefficient. Temperature compensation asserts proper charging and termination over an extended temperature range. The float voltage is a critical value that is precisely regulated to prevent overcharging, extend battery life and ensure that a full charge is maintained. The charge controller 50 varies the float voltage based on the battery temperature to compensate for changes in the battery charge rate. This is typically utilized in the maintenance mode. The internal reference is precisely designed to track the lead-acid cell's coefficients of -3.7 mV (°C.).
As described hereinbelow, there is a soft program input DSEL that has three modes, one for a logic "0", when tied to ground through a high impedance device, a logic "1" when it is tied through a resistor to a high voltage and a "float" mode wherein no impedance or an infinite impedance is disposed between the DSEL program input during the program sense operation and either positive or negative terminals. Therefore, three modes of display are provided for, which allow a higher degree of flexibility for different types of visual displays and varying amounts of displayed information. The DSEL=0 mode is intended for implementation of a simple two-LED indication signal where one LED indicates charging and the second LED indicates completion. The DSEL=1 mode is for implementation of a single, common cathode tri-color LED such that charging, completion and default each have a unique color. The DSEL=Z mode is intended to offer charging capacity information in the constant-voltage mode by indicating the top-off state wherein approximately eighty percent or greater charge has been replenished. In all modes, LED3 indicates the charge pending or full condition. The LED1-3 flashing rate is typically 1/8 second on and 1/8 second off. The summary of the display functions is provided in Table 3.
TABLE 3______________________________________CHARGER DISPLAY OUTPUT SUMMARYMode Charge Action State LED1 LED2 LED3______________________________________DSEL = 0 Battery absent or 0 0 1(Mode 1) over-voltage fault Charge conditioning Flashing 0 0 Bulk or top-off 1 0 0 charging Maintenance 0 1 0 charging Charge pending X X Flashing (temperature out of range) Charging fault X X 1 (over-voltage or conditioning MTO)DSEL = 1 Battery absent or 0 0 1(Mode 2) over-voltage fault Charge conditioning 1 1 0 Bulk charging 0 1 0 Maintenance or 1 0 0 top-off charging Charge pending X X Flashing (temperature out of range) Charging fault X X 1 (over-voltage or conditioning MTO)DSEL = Float Battery absent or 0 0 1(Mode 3) over-voltage fault Charge conditioning Flashing Flashing 0 Bulk charging 0 1 0 Top-off charging 1 1 0 Maintenance 1 0 0 charging Charge pending X X Flashing (temperature out of range) Charging fault X X 1 (over-voltage or conditioning MTO)______________________________________ Note: 1 = VCC, 0 = VSS, X = don't care
Referring now to FIG. 11, there is illustrated a connection diagram for the sole programming operation. Three LEDs 130, 132 and 133 are illustrated, having the anode thereof connected through resistors 134, 136 and 138, respectively, to the COM input. The cathode of each of the LEDs 130, 132 and 133 are connected to their respective LED inputs, LED1, LED2 and LED3. In operation, the LED1-3 inputs are pulled low when the appropriate one of the LEDs 130, 132 or 133 is turned on. The COM pin is connected high such that current will flow through the LEDs 130-133. However, during a programming mode, the COM pin is open-circuited such that current does not flow through the LEDs 130, 132 and 133. This occurs during a program READ step, usually done on power up. To facilitate this programming operation, a high impedance is disposed between the respective one of the LED1-3 inputs and then they are utilized as a programming input as opposed to a driver output. For illustrative purposes, the LED1 pin is connected through a resistor 140 to VCC and the LED2 pin is connected to a resistor 142 to VCC. The LED3 pin is connected through a resistor 144 to the negative terminal VSS of the charger 50. Therefore, this represents a "1" on LED1, a "1" on LED2 and a "0" on LED3. This corresponds to a TSEL value of "1", a DSEL value of "1" and a QSEL value of "0". This will result in the mode one for the display output and the selection of the constant voltage mode with QSEL set to "0". This operation is described in more detail in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/450,220, filed May 1, 1995.
Referring now to FIG. 12, there is illustrated a more detailed block diagram of the charger 50 illustrating the configuration for one exemplary configuration. The charger 50 is illustrated by phantom lines. The voltage/current regulator 70 is comprised of two separate loops, a current loop and a voltage loop. The current loop is operable to provide the current regulation and the voltage loop is operable to provide the voltage regulation. The two operations, as will be described hereinbelow, are "ORed" together. The voltage loop is comprised of a voltage error amplifier 150, which has the positive input thereof connected to a terminal 152 and the negative input thereof connected to a voltage reference terminal 154 labelled VREF. This is a voltage of 2.55 volts which is received from a voltage scaling or distribution device 156, the voltage scaling device 156 referenced to the temperature compensated reference voltage 66. As described above, the temperature compensated voltage reference 66 is comprised of the bandgap voltage reference generator that outputs a voltage of 2.30 and 2.55 volts.
The terminal 152 is connected to the output of a subtraction circuit 160 which has the positive input thereof connected to the BAT input to sense the cell voltage level and the negative input thereof connected to the SNS input which is connected to the negative terminal of the battery 10. In this manner, the voltage across the battery, including the resistive divider 112 and 114 is independent of the current through the sense resistor 16. Therefore, the error signal on the output of the error amplifier 150 VERR is a function of the difference between the output of the subtraction circuit 160 and the voltage VREF. This is input to the negative input of modulation control comparator 164, the positive input thereof connected to the output of a ramp oscillator 166. The timing for the ramp oscillator 166 is referenced to an external capacitor 168 that has one plate thereof connected to the TPWM input and the other plate thereof connected to VSS. This allows the user the ability to change the pulse width modulation frequency. The output of the comparator 164 provides the output VMOD. This provides a voltage modulation PWM control signal for a conventional switching power supply operation. The voltage VMOD is input to a modulation control 172 which is operable to generate the MOD output which is then input to an external switch 174 or gate element for use with a switch-mode buck rate regulator configuration.
The switch 174 is operable to switch an input voltage on a line 176 to a node 178. Node 178 is hooked to one side of a switching inductor 180, the other side thereof connected to the node 112. A switching diode 182 has the anode thereof connected to the node 170 and the cathode thereof connected to the ground terminal 18. This is a conventional switching regulator configuration.
The current loop has associated therewith a current error amplifier 184, having the positive input thereof connected to a sense reference voltage XSNS, which is output by a sense amp 186, sense amp 186 being a programmable gain sense amp. The sense amp 186 is programmed by the IGSEL input. This sets the value of IMIN as a function of the value of IMAX. When the IGSEL input is connected directly to ground, the IMIN current is set equal to IMAX /10. When the IGSEL input is connected to VCC, the IMIN value is set to IMAX /20. When the IGSEL input is allowed to "float", the IMIN value is set to IMAX /40.
The sense amp 186 is connected to the SNS input at node 14 on the negative terminal of the battery 10 and also to the VREF output of the voltage distributor 156, this being the voltage value of 2.30V. The reference input, the negative input of the error amplifier 184, is connected to a current reference IREF, which is a value of 2.5 volts output by the voltage distributor 156, it being noted that IMAX ranges from 2.55 to 2.3 volts and ISNS ranges from 2.55 to 2.3 volts. The output of the error amplifier 184, IERR is input to the negative input of a modulator circuit 188, the positive input thereof connected to the output of the ramp oscillator 166. Compensation inputs for both the voltage error amplifier 150 and the current error amplifier 184 are connected to one side of compensation capacitors 192 and 194, respectively. The modulation circuit 188 is operable to output the current modulation control signal IMOD which is input to the modulation control circuit 172.
The float input is connected to one side of the source/drain path of an N-channel transistor 198, the other side thereof connected to the SNS input. The FLOAT input is connected to one side of the resistor 120 such that when the gate thereof is raised high, resistor 120 is placed in parallel with resistor 114, thus lowering the voltage BAT to the FLOAT voltage, the FLOAT voltage discussed hereinabove as being essentially the cell voltage.
The voltage on one side of the thermistor 124 is input to the TS input of the controller 50. This is input to the positive input of a subtraction circuit 200, the negative input thereof connected to the VSS voltage. The output of the subtraction circuit 200 is input to the positive input of the comparator 72 which is a temperature fault comparator. Its negative input is connected to a voltage reference X VCC output by the voltage distributor circuit 156. Whenever the voltage on a positive input falls below a predetermined level, the output of the comparator 72, TVAL, will change state, indicating a "Pending" condition, wherein the MOD output will be inhibited. This is input to a control circuit 206, which is run by a state machine 208, the state machine 208 receiving one of its inputs from the master timer circuit 64. The temperature input is therefore referenced to the sense input which varies as a function of temperature.
The comparator 71 is the voltage fault comparator which has the negative input thereof connected to a voltage Y VCC output by the voltage distributor circuit 156 and the positive input thereof connected to the BATI output of the subtraction circuit 160, the same input that was input to the positive input of the voltage error amplifier 150. This, therefore, represents the battery voltage. Whenever the battery voltage rises to a level that is beyond acceptable limits, the output of the comparator 71, VVAL, will change states, this being input to the control circuit 206.
The gradient change operation is controlled by a gradient change circuit 210, which is operable to receive the XSNS output of a sense amp 186, the VREF voltage and the IREF voltage output by the voltage distributor 156 and the IREF reference voltage.
The timing of the oscillator 74 is set by a series connected resistor 212 and capacitor 214, resistor 212 connected between VCC and the TMTO input. Capacitor 214 is connected between the TMTO input and ground. The resistor 212 is referred to as the RMTO resistor and the capacitor 214 is referred to as CMTO. The following relationship defines the values of the resistor 212 and capacitor 214:
tMTO hours=RMTO (KΩ)•CMTO (μF)•10(1)
Similarly, the capacitor 168 on the TPWM input is utilized to set the PWM frequency of the ramp generator 166. The capacitor 168 is referred to as the CPWM capacitor. The following relationship defines the PWM frequency: ##EQU1##
As can be seen from Equation 1, the timing of the oscillator 74 is preset to become a function of the capacity of the battery. The maximum time-out is set such that, if the battery were to charge for this amount of time, it would theoretically replace all of the charge depleted from the battery. For example, if the battery were a 5 amp-hour battery, this would provide an output current of 5 amps for one hour. Therefore, if the maximum current input to the battery during the current regulation mode were set to 5 amps, one would not want the battery to charge for much more than one hour and the time-out period would be set to just in excess of one hour. If the current were set to 1 amp, the MTO timer would be set for a time of five hours or slightly more. Another important aspect is that all time periods during the operation of the present system are "ratioed" off of the MTO timer. As such, by setting the maximum time based upon capacity, all other time-out periods can be adjusted and these are adjusted as a function of capacity of the battery. As such, if a larger battery were incorporated into the system, the time-out period would be adjusted for the master time base, but all other time-outs, such as hold-off periods, the conditioning time periods T1 and T2 would also be adjusted. This is adjusted with one single input. The various time-outs for the system are depicted in Table 4.
TABLE 4__________________________________________________________________________Symbol Parameter Minimum Typical Maximum Unit Notes__________________________________________________________________________tMVC VCELL greater or 200 250 300 ms If VCELL ≧ VMVC equal for TMCV, then a VMCV valid period transition of VCELL < VMCV is recognized as a battery replacementtTH Hysteresis of 100 -- 300 ms voltage thresholdtMTO Charge timer 1 -- 24 hours See FIG. 7, time-out range Equation 7tUV1 Conditioning -- 0.02tMTO -- Ratio of tMTO time-out current sense periodtUV2 Conditioning -- 0.16tMTO - -- Ratio of tMTO time-out voltage sense periodtDV Δ2 V/Δt2 -- 0.008tMTO -- Ratio of tMTO termination sample periodtHOLDOFF1 Conditioning -- 0.002tMTO -- Ratio of tMTO state 2 hold-off time periodtHOLDOFF2 Bulk-charge -- 0.016tMTO -- Ratio of tMTO hold-off time periodFPWM Regulator timebase -- 100 TBD KHz See FIG. 7, frequency range Equation 6 External CPWM -- 0.001 -- μF range Charge timer TBD time-out (tTMO) accuracy Regulator timebase TBD frequency accuracy__________________________________________________________________________
Referring now to FIGS. 13a and 13b, there are illustrated timing diagrams for the voltage regulation operation. In FIG. 13a, the constant voltage operation is illustrated wherein the charge controller makes a transition from current regulation to voltage regulation, this being the transition from the bulk mode to the top-off mode. In the current regulation mode, the current error value IERR is set to a predetermined value, since the IMOD output is utilized as a modulating PWM signal. The ramp signal is represented by a waveform 226 that, when the waveform 226 is at a higher voltage than the current error signal IERR, IMOD goes high. When the ramp waveform goes from a negative to a positive, IMOD undergoes a negative transition. Similarly, whenever the ramp signal is higher than VERR, VMOD undergoes a positive transition, and then undergoes a negative transition when the ramp goes from a positive to a negative transition.
Initially, the voltage of the battery BAT is lower than the reference voltage. As such, the error voltage VERR will be negative. As the voltage increases, the error decreases. This will cause the pulse width of VMOD to decrease and the level of VERR to approach the level of IERR. At a point 228, the level of VERR is slightly less than the level of IERR such that the leading edge of VMOD slightly precedes the leading edge of IMOD. On the next pulse, at a point 230, the level of VERR is greater than the level of IERR such that the leading edge of IMOD precedes the leading edge of VMOD. This indicates the point at which current regulation switches over to voltage regulation, i.e, the top-off state is initiated. This is indicated by a signal VBLKDT going high. The OR logic function of the IMOD and VMOD signals constitutes the MOD signal. It can be seen that during current regulation, the IMOD signal is always a narrow pulse and is always present when the VMOD signal goes high and therefore, constitutes the output of the OR function. The inverse is true during the voltage regulation portion. During voltage regulation, the current error voltage IERR will decrease. It can be seen that, due to the timing, there are no interruptions in the regulation operation, as the MOD signal is continually asserted, with the only difference being that the width of the pulse is determined by a voltage regulation scheme at the point 230. This "switchover" occurs prior to the edge of the MOD pulse indicated by a transition 232 which arises as a result of VMOD going high. The previous MOD pulse, represented by a positive transition 236, is triggered off of the rising edge of the corresponding IMOD pulse. It can be seen that VBLKDT goes high off of a transition 238 of the IMOD pulse that occurs at a point 230 which occurs prior to the leading edge 232 of the MOD pulse. This enhances stability.
Referring now to the timing diagram of FIGS. 13a and 13b, the timing operation for the constant-current pulse mode of FIG. 5 is illustrated. As described above, a constant-current state is followed by a maintenance state during which the voltage is allowed to "float". Initially, the system is placed in current regulation at IMAX. In this mode, the IMOD pulse is narrowed and the VMOD pulse, since the VMOD pulse is the result of a VERR that is negative. This will continue until a point 240 has been reached where the system essentially goes into the voltage regulation mode for a short period of time. This is represented by a positive edge 242 of the IMOD pulse preceding a rising edge 244 of the VMOD pulse string. At this time, the VBLKDT signal is raised high at a rising edge 246 triggered off of the rising edge 242 of the IMOD pulse. Thereafter, the system will go into the IPUL charging mode wherein an IPUL signal (not shown) will go high, which will turn off the transistor 198 of FIG. 12 to unparallel the resistor 120 with resistor 114, thus raising the BAT voltage. When this voltage is raised the VERR signal will go high, indicated by a point 250. When this occurs, VMOD will go low and the MOD signal (not shown) will also go low such that there is no modulation. This will allow the voltage to float. The voltage will decrease until the error voltage VERR is less than the peak value of the waveform 266. This will occur at a point 254, thus creating a rising edge 256 on VMOD. From the time that IPUL is asserted and the BAT voltage is decreased to VFLOAT, the IERR signal is "forced" to a predetermined reference voltage, that being the reference voltage on the negative input of the current error amplifier. As such, the pulse width of IMOD will be maintained at a constant value. This will be in the leading edge of the IMOD pulse, a leading edge 258 preceding the leading edge 256 of the VMOD pulse. The VERR voltage will continue to decrease, thus increasing the width of the VMOD pulses until the leading edge of the VMOD occurs prior to the leading edge of IMOD. This occurs at a leading edge 260, which precedes a leading edge 262 of the IMOD pulse. The leading edge 262 will then trigger a VFLODT signal which is a signal that indicates that the float voltage has been reached, i.e., the BAT voltage is equal to VFLOAT. At this point, IPUL goes low and the system renters the current charging mode. Also, when IPUL is high, it inhibits MOD from being asserted, such that the pulse associated with leading edge 256 is not asserted as the MOD pulse.
Referring now to FIG. 14, there is illustrated a more detailed block diagram of the modulator control 172. The output of the comparator 164, the VMOD output, and the output of the comparator 188, the IMOD output, are input to an OR gate 270. The output of the OK gate 270 is input to the clock input of a D-type flip-flop, the data input connected to VCC. The reset input of the flip-flop 274 is connected to the output of a three input OR gate 276. OR gate 276 has three inputs connected to a sample signal SMP, the 12PUL signal and a current limit signal ILIM. This basically resets the flip-flop 274 when the ramp waveform 226 makes a transition from a positive ramp to a negative ramp. The IPUL signal will maintain the reset input of flip-flop 274 high such that it will effectively inhibit the Q-output of flip-flop 274 from going high. Similarly, the ILIM signal will also prevent the MOD signal from being asserted due to the current exceeding a current limit. The output of flip-flop 274 is input to one input of a three input AND gate 278, the output providing the MOD signal. The other two signals of AND gate 278 are connected to an MHO1 and an MHO2 signal, respectively. These are hold-off signals that are generated for the purpose of inhibiting the assertion of the MOD signal during predetermined hold-off periods, such as when the temperature is outside of preset limits, during the maintenance current duty cycle and predetermined faults.
In order to make a decision as to whether the rising edge of VMOD preceded the rising edge of IMOD or, if the rising edge of IMOD precedes the rising edge of VMOD in the pulse-current mode, a flip-flop 284 is provided, having the clock input thereof connected to the output of inverter 285, the output thereof connected to the IMOD signal. The D-input is connected to the output of an exclusive OK gate 286, which outputs the signal VMODX. One input of the exclusive OK gate 286 is connected to the VMOD signal and other input thereof is connected to the IPUL signal. Therefore, VMODX will only be high when either both inputs are low or both inputs are high. During the current regulation state of the pulse current mode, IPUL will be low and VMODX will be high when VMOD is low. Since the clock input is the inverted IMOD signal, the Q-output will only be triggered when the rising edge of IMOD occurs after the rising edge of VMOD.
The Q-output of the flip-flop 284, the VREG signal, is input to one input of an NAND gate 290 and one input of an AND gate 292. The other input of NAND gate 290 is connected to the BLK signal and other input of AND gate 292 is connected to the output of an inverter 294, the input thereof connected to the BLK signal. The BLK signal indicates when the bulk state is present. The NAND gate 290 outputs the VBLKDT signal and the AND gate 292 outputs the VFLODT signal.
In the current regulation operation in the bulk state of the pulse-current mode, the signal go high when VREG goes high, which occurs when the rising edge of IMOD precedes the rising edge of VMOD. This indicates the transition from the bulk state to the maintenance state, at which time the BLK signal goes low. Additionally, IPUL goes high. Since IPUL is high, the VMODX signal will now be 180° out of phase. In this mode, the VREG will be asserted whenever the rising edge of IMOD follows the rising edge of VMOD. At this point, VFLOADT will be asserted. This will then make the transition from the maintenance state to the bulk state, raising the signal BLK and lowering IPUL.
A multiplexer 296 is provided on the positive input of the error amplifier 194 which allows IERR to be set to a finite level whenever IPUL is raised high. The multiplexer 296 has the output thereof connected to the positive input of the error amplifier 194, and has two inputs, one of which is connected to the XSNS signal and the other of which is connected to the IREF signal. The IREF signal is then connected to both inputs of the error amplifier 184 when the IPUL signal is high.
Referring now to FIG. 15, there is illustrated a flowchart depicting the overall operation of the system. The program is initiated at a start block 300 and then proceeds to a decision block 302 in order to determine whether the battery is present. In this mode, a decision is made as to whether there is a voltage present at the battery terminal. If not, the program flows back to the input of decision block 302 in order to awake a valid voltage. When this occurs, the program flows along the "Y" path to a reset block 304 to initialize the system. The program then flows to a function block 306 to initiate the conditioning algorithm described hereinabove with respect to FIG. 3a. When the conditioning algorithm determines that a battery is both present and the cell voltage has risen to or above VMIN, the program will flow to a function block 326 to again reset the system. The program will then flow to a function block 328 to enter a bulk-charge state.
The program will flow to a decision block 330 to determine if the voltage of the battery is in a charge state. In the constant voltage mode, this indication is determined when the battery voltage is equal to a greater than VBLK. In the dual or pulsed-current mode, this is determined when either the voltage is greater than or equal to VBLK or the gradient change method has determined that the battery is charged. If the battery has not been fully charged, the program will flow along the "N" path from decision block 330 to a time-out block 332, this being for a length of time equal to the MTO timer period. If the time-out period does not occur, the program will flow along the "N" path back to the input of function block 328. When the time-out period occurs, the program will flow along the "Y" path from the decision block 332 to a maintenance block 310. However, when the battery is fully charged, before the time-out, the program will flow from decision block 330 to a decision block 334 to determine if the constant voltage mode is the existing mode. If so, the program will flow along a "Y" path to a top-off and maintenance routine. If the vokage mode is not indicated, the program will flow along an "N" path from decision block 334 to a decision block 336. Decision block 336 determines whether the pulse mode is selected. If so, the program will flow along the "Y" path to a pulse and maintenance routine and, if not, the program will flow along a "N" path to a constant or dual current and maintenance program.
Referring now to FIG. 16, there is illustrated a flowchart depicting the constant voltage mode, which is initiated at a function block 338 and then proceeds to a function block 340 to perform a reset operation. The program then flows to a function block 342 for a reset operation of the MTO timer. The program then flows to a function block 342 wherein a voltage regulation mode is entered to regulate the voltage at a voltage of VBLK. The program then flows to a decision block 344 to determine if the current is less than or equal to the current IMIN. If not, the program flows along a "N" path to a decision block 346 to determine if a time-out period has occurred. The time-out period is the period of the MTO timer. If so, the program will flow along a "Y" path to a maintenance block 345 to enter the maintenance state. If not, the program will flow along the "N" path back to the input of function block 342. When the current is less than or equal to IMIN, the program will flow along a "Y" path to the function block 345 to enter the maintenance state.
When the program has entered the maintenance state, the program will flow to a function block 348 to regulate the voltage at VFLOAT. The program will then flow to a decision block 350 to determine if the voltage is equal to or less than the voltage VMIN. If not, the program will flow along the "N" path back to the input of function block 348 and remain in that state. If the voltage is determined to be less than or equal to VMIN, this indicates that the battery has been removed and the program will flow along the "Y" path to a function block 352 indicating that the program should flow to battery test function block 306 of FIG. 15. This path will be present in all charge states except the conditioning state.
Referring now to FIG. 17, there is illustrated a flowchart depicting the pulse mode, which is initiated at a block 354 and then flows to a function block 356 to go the pulse mode of operation in the maintenance state. In the pulse mode of operation, the MOD is inhibited, as indicated by a function block 358. The program then flows to a function block 360 to set the cell float operation wherein no current is supplied to the cell. The program flows to a decision block 362 to determine if the voltage of the cell is less than VFLOAT. The program will flow along the "N" path until this occurs, at which time the program will flow along the "Y" path to a function block 364 to set the cell voltage to operate in a non-float operation, i.e., go back to the constant current bulk mode operation, as indicated by a function block 368. It is noted that, in the pulse mode, charging is determined upon either VCELL being greater than or equal to VBLK or termination has been determined by the voltage gradient change method. Of course, the MTO time-out will also cause a termination.
Referring now to FIG. 18, there is illustrated a flowchart depicting a dual current operation, which is initiated at a block 370 and then proceeds to a function block 372 to enter a current regulation mode, wherein the current is stepped down in a pulsed current regulation mode and then proceeds to a decision block 374 to determine if the cell voltage is either greater than the maximum cell voltage VMCV. If so, the program flows to a fault operation. If not, the program flows to a decision block 376 to determine if the cell voltage is less than the minimum cell voltage VMIN, at which time the program will flow to the conditioning operation. If not, the program maintains the current regulation mode at the maintenance state. The decisions in the blocks 374 and 376 are present in all states except the conditioning state.
Referring now to FIG. 19, there is illustrated an alternate embodiment of the present invention. In the voltage regulation mode, the alternate embodiment utilizes the gradient change method to determine when to terminate the current regulation operation for the constant-voltage mode charging profile, described hereinabove with respect to FIG. 3. In the above described mode, the decision to change from current regulation to voltage regulation between the bulk and top-off states was made based upon the voltage reaching the VBLK voltage level. However, it may be possible that this would result in overcharging the battery. The alternate embodiment is to utilize the gradient change method to determine the voltage at which the battery is at a substantially charged state or within at least 80-90% of its fully charged state. At this point, the voltage at which the gradient change method determined that the charging operation should be terminated in the current regulation mode is utilized as the voltage for the voltage regulation mode in the top-off portion of the charge action state.
Referring further to FIG. 19, the BATI voltage on line 152 is input through a summing circuit 380 to a latch 382. The summing circuit 380 adds an offset voltage VOFFSET to the voltage on BATI. This voltage is latched in the latch 382 in response to the gradient change block 210 determining that a charge altering operation should occur. The output of the latch 382 is input to one input of a two input multiplexer 384, the other input thereof connected to the X VCC output of battery limit circuit 156. The multiplexer 384 is operable, therefore, to select either the voltage on the latch 382 or the X VCC voltage on the output of the battery limit circuit 156. This allows the system to make two decisions. The decision is basically that, if the voltage VBLK is reached prior to the gradient change occurring, as determined by the block 210, then the voltage regulator will operate at the X VCC voltage. If, however, the gradient change method determines that the gradient change has occurred prior to the voltage of the battery reaching the VBLK voltage level, then the voltage at which the gradient change occurred will be latched into the latch 382 with the offset voltage and this utilized to control the voltage regulation operation.
Referring to FIG. 20, there is illustrated a charge profile for this operation. It can be seen that the decision to latch the voltage is made at a point 390 and the voltage regulated at a level VLATCH at a level 392. Thereafter, the operation will proceed in a normal manner. It is noted that this level is approximately eight percent of full charge. The offset raises this voltage level to achieve a higher charge state.
Referring now to FIG. 21, there is illustrated an alternate embodiment wherein termination of the top-off mode will be determined based upon a decision as to whether the change in the current as a function of time, or the first derivative, is determined based upon a decision as to whether the change in the current as a function of the time or the first derivative dI/dt is less than a predetermined level, or it goes positive. This is illustrated in the curve of FIG. 21a. The sense amp 186 outputs the XSNS signal to a dI/dt detect circuit 396, the output thereof input to one input of a comparator 398. The other input of the comparator 398 is connected to a reference voltage. Whenever the dI/dt detect circuit output rises above a predetermined negative value, a dI/dt signal is generated which terminates the top-off operation. Additionally, if the current falls below the current IMIN, this will also terminate the top-off operation and switch to the maintenance mode. This is illustrated by a point 400 on the curve in FIG. 21a for the portion of the charging profile illustrated between the top-off and maintenance modes. Additionally, an alternate method is to detect when the first derivative goes positive, indicating an increase in current. This occurs at a point 402. This typically occurs in a lead acid battery under voltage regulation. Either of these points can be utilized to control the termination of the top-off mode and initiation of the maintenance mode.
In summary, there has been provided a multi-mode lead acid charger which provides a double loop pulse switching operation to provide current to the lead acid battery. In one mode, the loop provides for voltage regulation with a switched mode regulator, and in another mode, provides current regulation via a switched mode regulator. The multiple modes provide for a conditioning state to perform some conditioning on the battery prior to fast charging, a bulk charge state wherein the battery is rapidly charged up to a charged state and a maintenance state wherein self-discharge is accounted for. In the bulk charge state, a number of techniques are provided. In one technique, current regulation is performed to rapidly charge up the battery to a bulk voltage level, at which time the charging circuit is switched over to a vokage regulation mode until the current decreases to a minimum current level, at which time the state is switched to the maintenance state. In another mode, the bulk charging state is performed at maximum current via current regulation until the voltage is equal to or exceeds the bulk voltage level, at which time the current is dropped. In a third mode, current is pulsed in a manner that utilizes current regulation to rapidly charge the battery up to a charged state and then allow it to "float" until it reaches a nominal cell voltage level, at which time it is again raised up to the charged state via current regulation. A determination is made as to the charged condition by determining if the second derivative of the battery voltage as a function of time has a defined accumulated negative value for a predetermined amount of time. This indicates a rise in temperature and also a rise in pressure within the battery.
Although the preferred embodiment has been described in detail, it should be understood that various changes, substitutions and alterations can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US4371826 *||Jan 16, 1981||Feb 1, 1983||Sperry Corporation||Non-dissipative battery charge circuit|
|US4388582 *||Jan 5, 1982||Jun 14, 1983||Black & Decker Inc.||Apparatus and method for charging batteries|
|US4433277 *||Jun 21, 1982||Feb 21, 1984||Rockwell International Corporation||Battery charging system|
|US4472672 *||Dec 13, 1982||Sep 18, 1984||Motorola Inc.||High power factor switching-type battery charger|
|US4491768 *||Nov 4, 1981||Jan 1, 1985||Eaton Corporation||Pulse width modulation inverter with battery charger|
|US4503378 *||May 2, 1983||Mar 5, 1985||General Motors Corporation||Charging system for nickel-zinc batteries|
|US4584514 *||Mar 18, 1985||Apr 22, 1986||Allied Corporation||High frequency switching battery charger|
|US4607208 *||Jul 30, 1984||Aug 19, 1986||The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Navy||Battery charger|
|US4638236 *||Nov 8, 1984||Jan 20, 1987||A. G. Busch & Co., Inc.||DC to DC battery charger|
|US4792743 *||Nov 14, 1986||Dec 20, 1988||Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.||Charging device|
|US4829259 *||Dec 2, 1987||May 9, 1989||Zenith Electronics Corporation||Constant current source and battery charger|
|US4855663 *||Feb 23, 1988||Aug 8, 1989||Yuasa Battery Company Limited||Charging control apparatus|
|US4862013 *||Nov 16, 1988||Aug 29, 1989||Zenith Electronics Corporation||Constant current source and battery charger|
|US4876495 *||Jun 27, 1988||Oct 24, 1989||Allied-Signal Inc.||Apparatus and method for charging and testing batteries|
|US5166595 *||Sep 17, 1990||Nov 24, 1992||Circom Inc.||Switch mode battery charging system|
|US5172784 *||Apr 19, 1991||Dec 22, 1992||Varela Jr Arthur A||Hybrid electric propulsion system|
|US5180961 *||Nov 8, 1989||Jan 19, 1993||Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.||Battery charging apparatus|
|US5192905 *||Sep 23, 1991||Mar 9, 1993||Magnetek, Inc.||Charging voltage control and current limit for battery chargers|
|US5198743 *||Dec 11, 1990||Mar 30, 1993||Span, Inc.||Battery charger with microprocessor control|
|US5250891 *||May 13, 1991||Oct 5, 1993||Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation||Battery charging method and apparatus|
|US5254932 *||Dec 24, 1990||Oct 19, 1993||Magnetek, Inc.||Charging voltage control circuit for battery chargers|
|US5270636 *||Feb 18, 1992||Dec 14, 1993||Lafferty Donald L||Regulating control circuit for photovoltaic source employing switches, energy storage, and pulse width modulation controller|
|US5296797 *||Jun 2, 1992||Mar 22, 1994||Byrd Electronics Corp.||Pulse modulated battery charging system|
|US5321349 *||Dec 8, 1992||Jun 14, 1994||Iwei Technology Co., Ltd.||Rechargeable/portable multi-voltage dc power supply|
|US5432426 *||Jun 29, 1993||Jul 11, 1995||Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.||Charging device of a secondary battery for controlling termination of charging in response to the change state of terminal voltage of the secondary battery|
|US5449997 *||Jan 24, 1994||Sep 12, 1995||Black & Decker Inc.||Battery charging system having logarithmic analog-to-digital converter with automatic scaling of analog signal|
|US5469043 *||Jul 14, 1994||Nov 21, 1995||Gnb Battery Technologies Inc.||Method for optimizing the charging of lead-acid batteries and an interactive charger|
|US5475294 *||Dec 15, 1992||Dec 12, 1995||Nippon Densan Corporation||Charge controller for battery charger|
|US5477125 *||Sep 11, 1992||Dec 19, 1995||Inco Limited||Battery charger|
|EP0629021A1 *||Jun 10, 1994||Dec 14, 1994||Bruno Paul Claude Marcoz||Electrical terminal block for electrical power supply cables|
|GB2248735A *||Title not available|
|GB2290426A *||Title not available|
|1||"Charge Batteries Safely in 15 Minutes by Detecting Voltage Inflection Points", Design Feature, Sep. 1, 1994, Gary Cummings, Spectra Research, Daniel Brotton, Black & Decker Corp., and James Goodhart, Zilog, Inc.|
|2||"Charging the New Batteries--IC Controllers Track New Technologies", Robert A. Mammano, Unitrode IC Corp., Merrimac, NH 03054.|
|3||"Sealed Lead-Acid Battery Charger", Unitrode Integrated Circuits, pp. 292-298, Jun. 1993.|
|4||"Simple Switchmode Lead-Acid Battery Charger", John A. O'Connor. Unitrode Integrated Circuits, Merrimack, NH, Power Conversion, Sep. 1991 Proceedings.|
|5||*||Charge Batteries Safely in 15 Minutes by Detecting Voltage Inflection Points , Design Feature, Sep. 1, 1994, Gary Cummings, Spectra Research, Daniel Brotton, Black & Decker Corp., and James Goodhart, Zilog, Inc.|
|6||*||Charging the New Batteries IC Controllers Track New Technologies , Robert A. Mammano, Unitrode IC Corp., Merrimac, NH 03054.|
|7||*||Sealed Lead Acid Battery Charger , Unitrode Integrated Circuits, pp. 292 298, Jun. 1993.|
|8||*||Simple Switchmode Lead Acid Battery Charger , John A. O Connor. Unitrode Integrated Circuits, Merrimack, NH, Power Conversion, Sep. 1991 Proceedings.|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US5969506 *||Feb 11, 1998||Oct 19, 1999||C & K Systems, Inc.||Apparatus and method for rapid bulk charging of a lead acid battery|
|US5982151 *||Jan 22, 1998||Nov 9, 1999||Sony Corporation||Battery charger and battery charging method|
|US6107782 *||Apr 6, 1999||Aug 22, 2000||Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.||Multi-staged method for recharging a lead acid battery as a function of intrinsic battery characteristics|
|US6177780||Dec 9, 1998||Jan 23, 2001||Veritas Dgc, Inc.||Battery charger with improved reliability|
|US6218812 *||May 15, 2000||Apr 17, 2001||Mark E. Hanson||Solid state battery charger|
|US6297617 *||Sep 5, 2000||Oct 2, 2001||Kabushiki Kaisha Toyoda Jidoshokki Seisakusho||Battery charger and charge control circuit|
|US6297618 *||Jan 31, 2001||Oct 2, 2001||Hitachi Ltd.||Power storage device and method of measuring voltage of storage battery|
|US6337563 *||Jan 26, 2001||Jan 8, 2002||Fujitsu Limited||DC-DC converter and semicondutor integrated circuit device for DC-DC converter|
|US6384570 *||Dec 14, 2000||May 7, 2002||Nec Corporation||Battery pack and charge circuit therefor|
|US6414465||Jun 22, 2001||Jul 2, 2002||France/Scott Fetzer Company||Method and apparatus for charging a lead acid battery|
|US6420854 *||May 17, 2001||Jul 16, 2002||Hubbell Incorporated||Battery detector|
|US6441584||Dec 1, 2000||Aug 27, 2002||Snap-On Technologies, Inc.||Charge maintenance system for lead-acid battery|
|US6495992 *||Apr 2, 1997||Dec 17, 2002||Norvik Traction Inc.||Method and apparatus for charging batteries utilizing heterogeneous reaction kinetics|
|US6975087 *||Aug 6, 2004||Dec 13, 2005||Delphi Technologies, Inc.||Closed-loop control system|
|US7012404||Apr 21, 2003||Mar 14, 2006||Microchip Technology Incorporated||Battery cover assembly having integrated battery condition monitoring|
|US7098627 *||Jul 25, 2003||Aug 29, 2006||Ricoh Company, Ltd.||Method and apparatus for battery charging with constant current, constant voltage, and pulsed charging|
|US7205746||May 25, 2004||Apr 17, 2007||Microchip Technology Inc.||Battery cover assembly having integrated battery condition monitoring|
|US7245109 *||Nov 30, 2005||Jul 17, 2007||Parailax Power Supply, Llc||Temperature sensitive power converter|
|US7253589 *||Jul 9, 2004||Aug 7, 2007||National Semiconductor Corporation||Dual-source CMOS battery charger|
|US7276880||Jun 28, 2002||Oct 2, 2007||Robert Bosch Gmbh||Devices and/or methods for determining the availability of electric energy, in particularly in vehicle electric systems comprising several energy accumulators|
|US7332890 *||Jan 21, 2004||Feb 19, 2008||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous robot auto-docking and energy management systems and methods|
|US7436152 *||Aug 28, 2003||Oct 14, 2008||National Semiconductor Corporation||Method and system for charge current control|
|US7477041||May 3, 2005||Jan 13, 2009||Commissariat A L'energie Atomique||Battery charging method|
|US7541781 *||Jan 17, 2005||Jun 2, 2009||Cobasys, Llc||Method and apparatus for charging and discharging a rechargeable battery|
|US7560899||Dec 15, 2004||Jul 14, 2009||National Semiconductor Corporation||Circuit and method for adjusting safety time-out with charge current|
|US7560907 *||Apr 28, 2006||Jul 14, 2009||Rosemount Inc.||Charging system for field devices|
|US7564223 *||Aug 29, 2005||Jul 21, 2009||Black & Decker Inc.||High frequency battery charger and method of operating same|
|US7612539 *||Jun 2, 2004||Nov 3, 2009||Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.||Battery charger circuits using constant current/constant voltage mode using maintenance offset currents and methods of operating the same|
|US7782011 *||Aug 18, 2004||Aug 24, 2010||Ricoh Company, Ltd.||Battery pack charging apparatus and method for constant current and constant voltage charging of multiple battery packs|
|US7786702 *||Jul 18, 2006||Aug 31, 2010||Stanley Chait||Battery conditioner and charger|
|US7808211||Mar 31, 2009||Oct 5, 2010||Schumacher Electric Corporation||System and method for charging batteries|
|US7932702 *||Oct 27, 2006||Apr 26, 2011||Motorola Mobility, Inc.||Method and apparatus for charging a battery to an enhanced capacity|
|US8031453||May 2, 2008||Oct 4, 2011||Rosemount Inc.||Industrial process field device with improved battery assembly|
|US8222869 *||Jul 5, 2007||Jul 17, 2012||O2Micro, Inc||System and method for battery charging|
|US8239992||May 9, 2008||Aug 14, 2012||Irobot Corporation||Compact autonomous coverage robot|
|US8253368||Jan 14, 2010||Aug 28, 2012||Irobot Corporation||Debris sensor for cleaning apparatus|
|US8269465 *||Sep 25, 2008||Sep 18, 2012||Pulsetech Products Corporation||Battery charging circuit generating an oscillating triangular waveform to remove sulphate from battery plates|
|US8269466 *||Sep 25, 2008||Sep 18, 2012||Pulsetech Products Corporation||Method for charging a battery including an oscillating triangular waveform to remove sulphate from battery plates|
|US8330413 *||Feb 27, 2009||Dec 11, 2012||Honeywell International Inc.||Method and system for determining and charging Li-ion battery in an integrated power system|
|US8368339||Aug 13, 2009||Feb 5, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Robot confinement|
|US8374721||Dec 4, 2006||Feb 12, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Robot system|
|US8378613||Oct 21, 2008||Feb 19, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Debris sensor for cleaning apparatus|
|US8380350||Dec 23, 2008||Feb 19, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous coverage robot navigation system|
|US8382906||Aug 7, 2007||Feb 26, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous surface cleaning robot for wet cleaning|
|US8386081||Jul 30, 2009||Feb 26, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Navigational control system for a robotic device|
|US8387193||Aug 7, 2007||Mar 5, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous surface cleaning robot for wet and dry cleaning|
|US8390251 *||Aug 6, 2007||Mar 5, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous robot auto-docking and energy management systems and methods|
|US8392021||Aug 19, 2005||Mar 5, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous surface cleaning robot for wet cleaning|
|US8396592||Feb 5, 2007||Mar 12, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Method and system for multi-mode coverage for an autonomous robot|
|US8412377||Jun 24, 2005||Apr 2, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Obstacle following sensor scheme for a mobile robot|
|US8417383||May 31, 2007||Apr 9, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Detecting robot stasis|
|US8418303||Nov 30, 2011||Apr 16, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Cleaning robot roller processing|
|US8428778||Nov 2, 2009||Apr 23, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Navigational control system for a robotic device|
|US8438695||Dec 8, 2011||May 14, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous coverage robot sensing|
|US8456125||Dec 15, 2011||Jun 4, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Debris sensor for cleaning apparatus|
|US8461803 *||Dec 29, 2006||Jun 11, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous robot auto-docking and energy management systems and methods|
|US8463438||Oct 30, 2009||Jun 11, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Method and system for multi-mode coverage for an autonomous robot|
|US8474090||Aug 29, 2008||Jul 2, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous floor-cleaning robot|
|US8478442||May 23, 2008||Jul 2, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Obstacle following sensor scheme for a mobile robot|
|US8482264||Jul 3, 2009||Jul 9, 2013||Koninklijke Philips N.V.||Fast charger for super capacitor|
|US8515578||Dec 13, 2010||Aug 20, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Navigational control system for a robotic device|
|US8516651||Dec 17, 2010||Aug 27, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous floor-cleaning robot|
|US8528157||May 21, 2007||Sep 10, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Coverage robots and associated cleaning bins|
|US8547065||Dec 10, 2008||Oct 1, 2013||Antonio Trigiani||Battery management system|
|US8565920||Jun 18, 2009||Oct 22, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Obstacle following sensor scheme for a mobile robot|
|US8572799||May 21, 2007||Nov 5, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Removing debris from cleaning robots|
|US8584305||Dec 4, 2006||Nov 19, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Modular robot|
|US8594840||Mar 31, 2009||Nov 26, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Celestial navigation system for an autonomous robot|
|US8598829||Jun 14, 2012||Dec 3, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Debris sensor for cleaning apparatus|
|US8600553||Jun 5, 2007||Dec 3, 2013||Irobot Corporation||Coverage robot mobility|
|US8634956||Mar 31, 2009||Jan 21, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Celestial navigation system for an autonomous robot|
|US8661605||Sep 17, 2008||Mar 4, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Coverage robot mobility|
|US8670866||Feb 21, 2006||Mar 11, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous surface cleaning robot for wet and dry cleaning|
|US8686679||Dec 14, 2012||Apr 1, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Robot confinement|
|US8710803 *||Nov 4, 2011||Apr 29, 2014||Askey Technology (Jiangsu) Ltd.||Charging current control method and charging system|
|US8726454||May 9, 2008||May 20, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous coverage robot|
|US8729868 *||Jun 19, 2008||May 20, 2014||Lenovo (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.||Method and apparatus for charging batteries|
|US8739355||Aug 7, 2007||Jun 3, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous surface cleaning robot for dry cleaning|
|US8742730 *||Feb 18, 2010||Jun 3, 2014||Spansion Llc||Charging circuit|
|US8749196 *||Dec 29, 2006||Jun 10, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous robot auto-docking and energy management systems and methods|
|US8754613 *||Jul 20, 2010||Jun 17, 2014||Ricoh Company, Ltd.||Charging device, electronic equipment including same, and control method of charging device|
|US8761931||May 14, 2013||Jun 24, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Robot system|
|US8761935||Jun 24, 2008||Jun 24, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Obstacle following sensor scheme for a mobile robot|
|US8774966||Feb 8, 2011||Jul 8, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous surface cleaning robot for wet and dry cleaning|
|US8780342||Oct 12, 2012||Jul 15, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Methods and apparatus for position estimation using reflected light sources|
|US8781626||Feb 28, 2013||Jul 15, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Navigational control system for a robotic device|
|US8782848||Mar 26, 2012||Jul 22, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous surface cleaning robot for dry cleaning|
|US8788092||Aug 6, 2007||Jul 22, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Obstacle following sensor scheme for a mobile robot|
|US8793020||Sep 13, 2012||Jul 29, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Navigational control system for a robotic device|
|US8797064 *||Jan 10, 2013||Aug 5, 2014||Lattice Semiconductor Corporation||Hybrid H-bridge and CML driver|
|US8800107||Feb 16, 2011||Aug 12, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Vacuum brush|
|US8808914||Feb 14, 2013||Aug 19, 2014||Energy Power Systems, LLC||Lead-acid battery design having versatile form factor|
|US8839477||Dec 19, 2012||Sep 23, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Compact autonomous coverage robot|
|US8854001||Nov 8, 2011||Oct 7, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous robot auto-docking and energy management systems and methods|
|US8855813||Oct 25, 2011||Oct 7, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous surface cleaning robot for wet and dry cleaning|
|US8874264||Nov 18, 2011||Oct 28, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Celestial navigation system for an autonomous robot|
|US8881339||Apr 30, 2012||Nov 11, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Robotic vacuum|
|US8910342||Jun 12, 2014||Dec 16, 2014||Irobot Corporation||Robotic vacuum cleaning system|
|US8930023||Nov 5, 2010||Jan 6, 2015||Irobot Corporation||Localization by learning of wave-signal distributions|
|US8941363 *||May 27, 2011||Jan 27, 2015||Empire Technology Development Llc||Device battery management|
|US8950038||Sep 25, 2013||Feb 10, 2015||Irobot Corporation||Modular robot|
|US8954192||Jun 5, 2007||Feb 10, 2015||Irobot Corporation||Navigating autonomous coverage robots|
|US8955192||Jun 12, 2014||Feb 17, 2015||Irobot Corporation||Robotic vacuum cleaning system|
|US8966707||Jul 15, 2010||Mar 3, 2015||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous surface cleaning robot for dry cleaning|
|US8972052||Nov 3, 2009||Mar 3, 2015||Irobot Corporation||Celestial navigation system for an autonomous vehicle|
|US8978196||Dec 20, 2012||Mar 17, 2015||Irobot Corporation||Coverage robot mobility|
|US8985127||Oct 2, 2013||Mar 24, 2015||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous surface cleaning robot for wet cleaning|
|US9008835||Jun 24, 2005||Apr 14, 2015||Irobot Corporation||Remote control scheduler and method for autonomous robotic device|
|US9038233||Dec 14, 2012||May 26, 2015||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous floor-cleaning robot|
|US9083199 *||May 10, 2011||Jul 14, 2015||Massachusetts Institute Of Technology||Battery charger circuit and control schemes|
|US9104204||May 14, 2013||Aug 11, 2015||Irobot Corporation||Method and system for multi-mode coverage for an autonomous robot|
|US9124118||Sep 13, 2012||Sep 1, 2015||Braun Gmbh||Circuit for a small electric appliance with an accumulator and method for measuring a charging current|
|US9128486||Mar 6, 2007||Sep 8, 2015||Irobot Corporation||Navigational control system for a robotic device|
|US9144360||Dec 4, 2006||Sep 29, 2015||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous coverage robot navigation system|
|US9144361||May 13, 2013||Sep 29, 2015||Irobot Corporation||Debris sensor for cleaning apparatus|
|US9149170||Jul 5, 2007||Oct 6, 2015||Irobot Corporation||Navigating autonomous coverage robots|
|US9167946||Aug 6, 2007||Oct 27, 2015||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous floor cleaning robot|
|US9215957||Sep 3, 2014||Dec 22, 2015||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous robot auto-docking and energy management systems and methods|
|US9219376||Sep 1, 2010||Dec 22, 2015||Koninklijke Philips N.V.||Charging circuit with current regulation|
|US9220386||Apr 30, 2012||Dec 29, 2015||Irobot Corporation||Robotic vacuum|
|US9223749||Dec 31, 2012||Dec 29, 2015||Irobot Corporation||Celestial navigation system for an autonomous vehicle|
|US9229454||Oct 2, 2013||Jan 5, 2016||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous mobile robot system|
|US9263721||Sep 25, 2012||Feb 16, 2016||Energy Power Systems LLC||Lead-acid battery design having versatile form factor|
|US9317038||Feb 26, 2013||Apr 19, 2016||Irobot Corporation||Detecting robot stasis|
|US9320398||Aug 13, 2009||Apr 26, 2016||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous coverage robots|
|US9320400||Dec 31, 2014||Apr 26, 2016||Irobot Corporation||Robotic vacuum cleaning system|
|US9360300||Jun 2, 2014||Jun 7, 2016||Irobot Corporation||Methods and apparatus for position estimation using reflected light sources|
|US9360530 *||Nov 6, 2013||Jun 7, 2016||Google Technology Holdings LLC||Method and system for energy storage capacity estimation of battery cells|
|US9392920||May 12, 2014||Jul 19, 2016||Irobot Corporation||Robot system|
|US9419455 *||Sep 30, 2013||Aug 16, 2016||Broadcom Corporation||Multimode battery charger|
|US9445702||Jun 11, 2014||Sep 20, 2016||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous surface cleaning robot for wet and dry cleaning|
|US9446521||Jun 6, 2014||Sep 20, 2016||Irobot Corporation||Obstacle following sensor scheme for a mobile robot|
|US9480381||Aug 11, 2014||Nov 1, 2016||Irobot Corporation||Compact autonomous coverage robot|
|US9486924||Mar 27, 2015||Nov 8, 2016||Irobot Corporation||Remote control scheduler and method for autonomous robotic device|
|US9492048||Dec 24, 2013||Nov 15, 2016||Irobot Corporation||Removing debris from cleaning robots|
|US9509162 *||Apr 30, 2015||Nov 29, 2016||Active-Semi, Inc.||Single-stage AC-to-DC switching converter that directly charges a battery requiring a multi-state charging profile|
|US20040012396 *||Apr 21, 2003||Jan 22, 2004||Microchip Technology Incorporated||Battery cover assembly having integrated battery condition monitoring|
|US20040113629 *||Jul 25, 2003||Jun 17, 2004||Helmut Laig-Hoerstebrock||Energy store and method for determining the wear to an electrochemical energy store|
|US20040195996 *||Jul 25, 2003||Oct 7, 2004||Junji Nishida||Method and apparatus for nonaqueous second battery charging|
|US20040212342 *||May 25, 2004||Oct 28, 2004||Microchip Technology Incorporated||Battery cover assembly having integrated battery condition monitoring|
|US20040212351 *||Jun 28, 2002||Oct 28, 2004||Markus Kneifel||Devices and/or methods for determing the availability of electric energy, in particularly in vehicle electric systems comprising several energy accumulators|
|US20050007075 *||Jun 2, 2004||Jan 13, 2005||Woo Lee Won||Battery charger circuits using constant current/constant voltage mode using maintenance offset currents and methods of operating the same|
|US20050046386 *||Aug 18, 2004||Mar 3, 2005||Junji Nishida||Battery pack charging apparatus and method|
|US20050088144 *||Aug 24, 2004||Apr 28, 2005||Schumacher Electric Corporation||System and method for charging batteries|
|US20050156562 *||Jan 21, 2004||Jul 21, 2005||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous robot auto-docking and energy management systems and methods|
|US20050168227 *||Jul 29, 2003||Aug 4, 2005||Ross Naddei||Battery conditioning apparatus|
|US20050225299 *||Dec 10, 2001||Oct 13, 2005||Vladimir Petrovic||Rapid battery charging method and apparatus|
|US20050242777 *||May 27, 2003||Nov 3, 2005||Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.||Charger for rechargeable batteries|
|US20060001401 *||Aug 29, 2005||Jan 5, 2006||Vector Products, Inc.||High frequency battery charger and method of operating same|
|US20060158156 *||Jan 17, 2005||Jul 20, 2006||Paul Gamboa||Method and apparatus for charging and discharging a rechargeable battery|
|US20060190133 *||Aug 19, 2005||Aug 24, 2006||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous surface cleaning robot for wet cleaning|
|US20060244424 *||Apr 28, 2006||Nov 2, 2006||Rosemount Inc.||Charging system for field devices|
|US20070016328 *||Feb 21, 2006||Jan 18, 2007||Andrew Ziegler||Autonomous surface cleaning robot for wet and dry cleaning|
|US20070114975 *||Dec 29, 2006||May 24, 2007||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous robot auto-docking and energy management systems and methods|
|US20070120535 *||Nov 30, 2005||May 31, 2007||Bill Wallace||Temperature sensitive power converter|
|US20070179670 *||Mar 6, 2007||Aug 2, 2007||Irobot Corporation||Navigational control system for a robotic device|
|US20070213892 *||Feb 5, 2007||Sep 13, 2007||Irobot Corporation||Method and System for Multi-Mode Coverage For An Autonomous Robot|
|US20070250212 *||Dec 4, 2006||Oct 25, 2007||Halloran Michael J||Robot system|
|US20070267998 *||Aug 6, 2007||Nov 22, 2007||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous Robot Auto-Docking and Energy Management Systems and Methods|
|US20080007203 *||Dec 29, 2006||Jan 10, 2008||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous robot auto-docking and energy management systems and methods|
|US20080048623 *||May 3, 2005||Feb 28, 2008||Murielle Le Gall||Battery Charging Method|
|US20080065265 *||May 31, 2007||Mar 13, 2008||Irobot Corporation||Detecting robot stasis|
|US20080091305 *||Jun 5, 2007||Apr 17, 2008||Irobot Corporation||Coverage robot mobility|
|US20080140255 *||Aug 7, 2007||Jun 12, 2008||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous surface cleaning robot for wet and dry cleaning|
|US20080274772 *||May 2, 2008||Nov 6, 2008||Rosemount Inc.||Industrial process field device with improved battery assembly|
|US20080276408 *||May 9, 2008||Nov 13, 2008||Irobot Corporation||Autonomous coverage robot|
|US20080282494 *||Dec 4, 2006||Nov 20, 2008||Irobot Corporation||Modular robot|
|US20080309291 *||Mar 5, 2008||Dec 18, 2008||Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.||Computer system and control method thereof|
|US20090009141 *||Jul 5, 2007||Jan 8, 2009||O2Micro Inc.||System and method for battery charging|
|US20090027013 *||Jun 19, 2008||Jan 29, 2009||Shigefumi Odaohhara||Method and Apparatus for Charging Batteries|
|US20090085524 *||Sep 25, 2008||Apr 2, 2009||Pulsetech Products Corporation||Battery charging circuit|
|US20090085525 *||Sep 25, 2008||Apr 2, 2009||Pulsetech Products Corporation||Method for charging battery|
|US20090146610 *||Dec 10, 2008||Jun 11, 2009||Antonio Trigiani||Battery management system|
|US20090206796 *||Mar 31, 2009||Aug 20, 2009||Pacholok David R||System and method for charging batteries|
|US20090309551 *||Feb 27, 2009||Dec 17, 2009||Honeywell International Inc.||Method and system for determining and charging li-ion battery in an integrated power system|
|US20090319083 *||Aug 13, 2009||Dec 24, 2009||Irobot Corporation||Robot Confinement|
|US20100049365 *||Oct 30, 2009||Feb 25, 2010||Irobot Corporation||Method and System for Multi-Mode Coverage For An Autonomous Robot|
|US20100085022 *||Oct 2, 2009||Apr 8, 2010||Makita Corporation||Charging apparatus|
|US20100117594 *||Nov 13, 2008||May 13, 2010||International Truck Intellectual Property Company, Llc||Strategy for maintaining state of charge of a low-voltage battery bank in a hybrid electric vehicle having a high-voltage traction battery bank|
|US20100141218 *||Feb 18, 2010||Jun 10, 2010||Fujitsu Microelectronics Limited||Charging circuit|
|US20100164437 *||Oct 22, 2009||Jul 1, 2010||Mckinley Joseph P||Battery formation and charging system and method|
|US20110018500 *||Jul 20, 2010||Jan 27, 2011||Ricoh Company, Ltd.||Charging device, electronic equipment including same, and control method of charging device|
|US20110018503 *||Oct 1, 2010||Jan 27, 2011||Motorola, Inc.||Method and Apparatus for Charging a Battery to an Enhanced Capacity|
|US20110077802 *||Dec 3, 2010||Mar 31, 2011||Halloran Michael J||Robot System|
|US20110121793 *||Jul 3, 2009||May 26, 2011||Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.||Fast charger for super capacitor|
|US20110125323 *||Nov 5, 2010||May 26, 2011||Evolution Robotics, Inc.||Localization by learning of wave-signal distributions|
|US20110131741 *||Dec 17, 2010||Jun 9, 2011||Jones Joseph L||Autonomous Floor-Cleaning Robot|
|US20110199055 *||Feb 11, 2011||Aug 18, 2011||Revolt Technology Ltd.||Methods for charging metal-air cells|
|US20110279079 *||May 10, 2011||Nov 17, 2011||Massachusetts Institute Of Technology||Battery Charger Circuit and Control Schemes|
|US20120299554 *||May 27, 2011||Nov 29, 2012||Empire Technology Development Llc||Device battery management|
|US20130076312 *||Nov 4, 2011||Mar 28, 2013||Askey Computer Corp.||Charging current control method and charging system|
|US20140084844 *||Sep 23, 2013||Mar 27, 2014||Darryl Weflen||Self-contained automotive battery booster system|
|US20140361760 *||Jun 7, 2013||Dec 11, 2014||Mediatek Inc.||Voltage regulation circuits and power supply devices using the same|
|US20150048801 *||Nov 6, 2013||Feb 19, 2015||Motorola Mobility Llc||Method and system for energy storage capacity estimation of batter cells|
|US20150069951 *||Sep 30, 2013||Mar 12, 2015||Broadcom Corporation||Multimode Battery Charger|
|US20150293180 *||Apr 2, 2015||Oct 15, 2015||Johnson Controls Technology Company||Integrated battery sensor for multiple battery modules|
|US20160276843 *||Mar 20, 2015||Sep 22, 2016||Ford Global Technologies, Llc||Battery Charge Strategy Using Discharge Cycle|
|CN100446381C||Jun 21, 2004||Dec 24, 2008||三星电子株式会社||Battery charger circuits using constant current/constant voltage mode and methods of operating the same|
|CN100495806C||May 3, 2005||Jun 3, 2009||原子能委员会||Process for charging battery|
|EP0994549A2 *||Oct 2, 1999||Apr 19, 2000||Norbert Fiedler||Method for charging batteries|
|EP1020972A2 *||Jan 10, 2000||Jul 19, 2000||Sony Corporation||Battery charger|
|EP1476931A2 *||Jan 24, 2003||Nov 17, 2004||Vector Manufacturing, Ltd.||Dual transformer high frequency battery charger|
|EP1476931A4 *||Jan 24, 2003||Aug 21, 2013||Vector Prod Inc||Dual transformer high frequency battery charger|
|EP2175544A2 *||Oct 7, 2009||Apr 14, 2010||BLACK & DECKER INC.||Battery charger|
|EP2381557A1 *||Jan 20, 2010||Oct 26, 2011||Actions Semiconductor Co., Ltd.||Battery charging method and device|
|WO2003004315A2 *||Jun 28, 2002||Jan 16, 2003||Robert Bosch Gmbh||Devices and/or methods for determining the availability of electric energy, particularly in vehicle electric systems comprising several energy accumulators|
|WO2003004315A3 *||Jun 28, 2002||Jun 26, 2003||Bosch Gmbh Robert||Devices and/or methods for determining the availability of electric energy, particularly in vehicle electric systems comprising several energy accumulators|
|WO2003107505A2 *||May 27, 2003||Dec 24, 2003||Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.||Charger for rechargeable batteries|
|WO2003107505A3 *||May 27, 2003||Feb 5, 2004||Koninkl Philips Electronics Nv||Charger for rechargeable batteries|
|WO2005122319A1 *||May 3, 2005||Dec 22, 2005||Commissariat A L'energie Atomique||Battery charging method|
|WO2009076418A1 *||Dec 10, 2008||Jun 18, 2009||Antonio Trigiani||Battery management system|
|WO2010010478A2 *||Jul 13, 2009||Jan 28, 2010||Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.||Fast charger for super capacitor|
|WO2010010478A3 *||Jul 13, 2009||Jun 3, 2010||Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.||Fast charger for super capacitor|
|WO2011027297A1 *||Sep 1, 2010||Mar 10, 2011||Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.||A charging circuit with current regulation|
|U.S. Classification||320/145, 320/161, 320/DIG.13, 320/156|
|Cooperative Classification||H02J7/0081, H02J7/0073, Y10S320/13, H02J7/0093|
|European Classification||H02J7/00M10B, H02J7/00M10E, H02J7/00M10C3B|
|Mar 24, 1995||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: BENCHMARQ MICROELECTRONICS,INC.
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BROELL, FREDERICK G.;PARVERESHI, JEHANGIR;SACARISEN, STEPHEN P.;REEL/FRAME:007409/0982;SIGNING DATES FROM 19950220 TO 19950221
|Jun 29, 2001||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Jun 30, 2005||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Jun 22, 2009||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12